2020 Highlander vs. Ascent Comparison

Many drivers see crossover SUVs as the ideal vehicle. They are made with a unibody structure for passenger driving comfort like a car but have all the size and space luxuries of an SUV. Toyota helped usher in this new era of SUVs with the Highlander in 2001. When most SUVs were still based on trucks, the Highlander was one of the first vehicles to use a unibody structure.

The starting price of the Highlander is slightly higher vs. Ascent. The 2020 Highlander base trim, the Highlander L, starts at $34,600.

Introduced in 2019, the Subaru Ascent is newer to the crossover trend. The 2020 Ascent base trim starts at $31,995. However, the price advantage shrinks when you consider maintenance and other standard features.

All leases and purchases of new Toyota vehicles come standard with a factory-scheduled maintenance program called ToyotaCare. It lasts for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. ToyotaCare also includes Roadside Assistance that lasts for two years and unlimited miles. Subaru has a maintenance program but duration and cost depend on the plan you buy.

See how these rivals stack up in categories like safety, performance, and interior.

Publish Date: 06/12/2020

Explore Highlander

Safety

The 2020 Highlander comes with Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 (TSS 2.0), a suite of active safety features.

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Safety

  • Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0 comes standard on all Highlanders.
  • The Subaru Ascent safety program EyeSight® lacks Automatic High Beams (AHB).
  • The Highlander base trim comes standard with Snow Mode to help drivers battle wintry roads.
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Performance

On the Ascent, all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard. However, if you prefer front-wheel drive (FWD), the Highlander has both AWD and FWD options to give you more choices.

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Performance

  • The 2020 Toyota Highlander has both AWD and FWD options so you can choose the one that is right for you.
  • The Highlander’s base trim L has an EPA-estimated 21 city and 29 highway MPG. The Ascent’s base trim has an EPA-estimated 21 city and 27 highway.
  • The 2020 Ascent has less horsepower than the Highlander at 260 vs. 295.
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Interior

The Highlander Limited and Platinum have Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging. Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging is not listed on any Ascent trim.

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Interior

  • The Highlander Limited and Platinum trims have Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging.
  • The Highlander has an 8-inch touch-screen which is larger than the Ascent’s 6.5-inch touch-screen.
  • The Highlander does have a 12.3-inch touch-screen available for the Limited trim. It’s standard on the Platinum trim.
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Conclusion: Highlander vs. Ascent

Choose the crossover SUV that has all of the features you need at the price that’s right for you. Between the 2020 Highlander vs. Ascent, the competition is pretty fierce. But a few things push the Highlander over the top.

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Conclusion: Highlander vs. Ascent

  • All leases and purchases of new Toyota vehicles come standard with a factory-scheduled maintenance program called ToyotaCare.
  • The 2020 Highlander comes with Toyota Safety Sense® 2.0.
  • The Highlander offers drivers more driving options with AWD and FWD and offers more horsepower than the 2020 Ascent.
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